, Volume 159, Issue 1, pp 113-125
Date: 12 Nov 2011

Migration, distribution, and diving behavior of adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) following dispersal from a major breeding aggregation in the Western North Atlantic

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Abstract

Sixteen satellite-tagged adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) dispersed widely from an aggregation near Port Canaveral, Florida, USA (28°23′N, −80°32′W) after breeding. Northbound males migrated further (990 ± 303 km) than southbound males (577 ± 168 km) and transited more rapidly (median initial dive duration = 6 (IQR = 4–16) versus 19 (IQR = 10–31) min, respectively).. Migration occurred along a depth corridor (20–40 m) except where constricted by a narrow continental shelf width. Males foraged in areas 27 ± 41 km2 day−1 at locations <1–80 km from shore for 100.1 ± 60.6 days, with variability in foraging patterns not explained by turtle size or geography. Post-breeding dispersal patterns were similar to patterns reported for adult female loggerhead sea turtles in this region and adult male loggerhead sea turtles elsewhere in the northern hemisphere; however, foraging ground distributions were most similar to adult female loggerhead sea turtles in this region.

Communicated by J. D. R. Houghton.